[QODLink]
Americas

Saudi minister: US to remain energy dependent

Oil minister calls talk of US energy independence "naive", saying country will need Middle East oil long into future.

Last Modified: 30 Apr 2013 20:30
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Naimi said Saudi Arabia its current 266 billion barrels could increase, especially if technology improves [EPA]

Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi has called the US push for energy independence "naive," saying the country will continue to need Middle Eastern oil long into the future.

Naimi said on Tuesday he welcomed the surge in US domestic energy production from shale oil and gas fields, which he said will add depth and stability to global oil markets.

"Newly commercial reserves of shale or tight oil are transforming the energy industry in America - and that's great news," the AFP news agency quoted him as telling an audience of policy makers and academics at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington.

"It is helping to sustain the US economy and create jobs at a difficult time.

"I welcome these new supplies into the global oil market." he added.

On the other hand, he said, it was not realistic to believe this would help the United States eliminate imports of oil, a goal of some Americans who argue energy independence is crucial for the country's security.

'Simplistic view'

Despite the domestic production gains, US imports of Middle East oil in the second half of 2012 were higher than any time since the 1990s, Naimi said.

Al Jazeera's Empire explores the shifting geopolitics of oil

The United States "will continue to meet domestic demand by utilising a range of different sources, including from the Middle East. This is simply sound economics."

"I believe this talk of ending reliance is a naive, rather simplistic view."

Naimi meanwhile emphasised that Saudi Arabia remains able to sustain its reserves at the current 266 billion barrels and said that could increase, especially if technology for extracting "tight" shale oil and gas improves.

But he corrected comments by another top Saudi official, former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal, on Saudi oil development plans.

In a speech Monday at Harvard University, Turki said Saudi Arabia "is set to" increase production capacity to 15 million barrels a day from the current 12.5 million barrels per day.

"We have no plans" for that, Naimi said. "We don't really see a need to build a capacity beyond what we have today."

Contacted by AFP, an aide to Turki said that he meant Saudi Arabia "could" take that step if it felt the need.

412

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal is set to hear genocide charges for targeting ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslims.
'I'm dying anyway, one piece at a time' said Steve Fobister, who suffers from disabilities caused by mercury poisoning.
join our mailing list